July 10, 2013

Pinpointing the reason our rental unit isn't renting

Ok, I know we haven't even had our rental on the market for a full two weeks yet, but I can tell something isn't right.  We've had lots of calls, 4 showings, 2 of which really, really liked it to the point that I thought for sure they would put in their application and then I never heard from them again.

So I've been doing some research and I've decided my problem was the tenant screening policy that we are handing out with the application.  This was meant as a way to describe to the potential tenants what we will except.  This included the obvious stuff: no prior rentals, no felonies, good references from previous land lords.  Basically, I got most of it from a website and then added some info of my own.  It was long (about a page and a half) and sounded very legally worded.  I wasn't trying to scare everyone off, but trying to communicate that we live in a great neighbourhood and we are doing everything we can to screen tenants so that we have good upstanding people living here.  Especially since we live right next door to the unit. 

So I've totally redone our "tenant screening policy".  I'm still going to hand this out to potential tenants with the application.  I feel like it covers me so that people will know I'm not discriminating against them for an illegal reason but specifically shows that we expect:
  • No previous evictions
  • No Felonies
  • No more than 2 misdemeanours in the last 5 years
  • We will check references, verifying employment and ask for pay stubs.
But it is simplified and I took a lot of the legal sounding mumbo jumbo out of it.  I understand people may not have the best record or the greatest credit score, but they shouldn't be afraid of a credit or background check.  I just don't want child molesters or thieves or people that don't pay their bills and refuse to leave.

My point in handing out this tenant screening policy with the application is to protect us from someone saying that we discriminated against them illegally.  I don't care what race, religion, etc. etc. anyone is.  I will rent to anyone as long as I don't feel they are a financial risk or a safety risk to my family.  I'm hoping my new Tenant Screening Policy will communicate that better and not scare anyone off.

I have 3 showings tomorrow, so hopefully this will help get us some qualified applicants.

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